Volunteering with rcv
The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia (RCV) is an all-volunteer organization. We are very thankful to everyone who donates their time and energy tto help care for our education birds and educate the public about raptors. RCV volunteers come from many walks of life: professionals from diverse fields, homemakers, retirees, and college students. Before you decide whether you might be interested in applying to be an RCV volunteer, we would like to share some information about the work we do and answer some common questions.
RCV Volunteer Duties and Responsibilities
The main duties of an RCV volunteer are to ensure that all of the raptors are fed and that the facility is cleaned.
- Feeding the birds includes preparing dead mice, rats, day old chicks, and quail that will be fed to our education birds in prescribed amounts.
- Cleaning involves hosing out mews (raptor homes), picking up debris (pellets, old food) and providing clean water. At our indoor facility we have air filters that must be cleaned every day, and the floor needs to be mopped.
These are the basic tasks that all volunteers are expected to perform. There are many other duties that volunteers can take on if they wish to do so, but no one gets exempted from feeding and cleaning duty. Volunteering at RCV is can be a bit messy but it is very rewarding to help raptors in need.
RCV has 10 non-releasable education birds that live with us year round. Each has a physical reason why they cannot be released because they cannot survive in the wild. Volunteers give presentations with our education birds to groups at schools, churches, community centers, fairs and parks about the work that RCV does and the raptors that we help. If you are interested in training to work with RCV’s education birds at public programs please let us know on your application form. Training with the education birds is in addition to the main feeding and cleaning duties.
How to Become an RCV Volunteer
Anyone wishing to become an RCV volunteer needs to do the following:
- Complete the online application form below - don't forget to hit the "submit" button at the end otherwise we won't receive your application!
- Attend a 1-hour orientation session. Orientation sessions allow you to learn more about RCV and ask questions, and give us a chance to meet you. Small training classes are held twice a year for invited applicants. Please note that we receive many more applications than people we can train in any given class, so it may be awhile before someone contacts you.
- Train one-on-one with an experienced RCV volunteer at least 3 days a month on food preparation and feeding regimes, safe raptor handling, and cleaning protocols. At a minimum all volunteers are expected to attend 8 one-on-one sessions where they complete feeding and cleaning at both of our facilities in Falls Church, VA. These sessions average 3 hours (typically between 11am-5pm).
- Only after RCV's Volunteer Coordinator assesses your progress and is comfortable that you are ready to work on your own will you be allowed to do so.
- After training is complete volunteers are expected to assist at RCV on a regular basis.
All volunteers must be at least 18 years old. RCV facilities are located in Falls Church, VA.
Banner photo - Eastern Screech Owl "Smoke" - by Hung Vu